Friday, July 29, 2016

Pajama Day

I am very ambivalent about the results of this photoshoot. It's not bad. It's just not great. This is a very cute "pajama shirt" though, that I've had for several years (but rarely wear, because I like to sleep nude). I wish I had more opportunities to go on "pajama outings" (like brunch on Sundays, or standardized testing days at school). This is something that's stylish and comfy, that I could actually wear in public (unlike undies or nothing at all) if I had an excuse (I've even got fuzzy pink flip flops to go with it!), that doesn't feel like a regular daytime outfit because I'm not wearing any pants (or shorts). Although it's kind of ironic that it feels that way, because I have dresses that I wear that are shorter and cover even less of my body. Go figure.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Disney Princess Panties

Used to be a time when you had to be born of royal blood in order to be a princess. Nowadays, anyone can be a princess - you don't even have to be female! Not that I'm complaining. I love princesses. And if every little girl - and boy! - who wants to be a princess gets to be a princess, then that's great. Feminists complain about girls being "forced" to dress like princesses at Halloween when they can just as easily pick up a superhero costume from the boys' aisle. But heaven forbid what will happen if a boy tries to pick up a princess costume from the girls' aisle!

I think the appeal of princesses can be explained by the old Disney fairy tale playbook - the idea that a poor, mistreated pauper of a girl living out in the wilderness could discover that she's royalty, and with it comes the answer to all her prayers - wealth, social standing, all the jewels and pretty dresses she could ever want to wear, and the cutest boyfriend in all the kingdom to boot. As much as feminists whine that women don't need to be defined by men - and that's true - what's wrong with viewing the acquisition of an attractive mate as a desirable life goal? But it's funny how different this is from reality, in which royal marriages - at least in antiquity - were arranged for political gain, and likely often involved young, nubile girls being handed off to rich, old statesmen. (Or have I been reading too much Game of Thrones?)

I guess some of the feminists' ire also stems from the trope of princesses frequently being depicted as "damsels in distress" who need to be rescued by the nearest strapping lad. Whatever. I don't disparage people their romantic or sexual fantasies. You can read bodice-rippers and still believe that women deserve equal pay. It's called compartmentalization. And these days, princesses can do anything. They can be tough. They can be self-sufficient. They can even enjoy getting dirty. So what's wrong with liking to dress up in elegant ballroom gowns and diamond necklaces, and pretending to be important and desired (if just for a while)? Nothing, if you ask me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Censorship Pet Peeve

(You won't be surprised to learn that I've written about this before, but it's something I'm frequently confronted with).

Pet peeve: "It's only censorship if it's the government censoring you."

The government does not have a monopoly on censorship. The fact that the right to freedom of speech is written into our code of law means that we have recourse to the law only if it's the government censoring us. That does not mean that the law supercedes any other interpretation of the philosophical concept of free speech and censorship. If an art gallery, business establishment, individual, or internet service silences you, that is still censorship. It's just censorship that is permitted by the law.

Do private entities have the right to construct intentional environments around themselves? Yes. Should they? I think so, yes. But should they also be held to the principle that an atmosphere of free speech is a generally desirable thing? That is my belief. There are cases where what could be construed as "private censorship" might be justified (e.g., to create non-threatening spaces for vulnerable populations). But in any case, the action of restricting citizens' [local, if not universal] freedom of speech should be taken reluctantly, within considered limitations, and only with good reason.

Because the idea that "if you can't say something here, you can just say it over there" - which is used to justify private censorship as opposed to government censorship - holds increasingly less water with the more places that crop up where you can't say that particular thing.

Also: I make a distinction between censorship and harassment. If you use your speech as a weapon to harass somebody, you should be silenced (and ideally removed from the situation). This does not mean your ideas are being censored, just the way you're using them (i.e., you're being punished for being a jerk, not simply for saying whatever it is you said). Find a way to express your thoughts that isn't directed toward a specific person in a hostile manner. Freedom of speech is not incompatible with human decency (and behaving like it is gives its detractors more fuel for criticism - so let's not encourage this odious idea).

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Light Caress

I awoke to the feeling of the morning sun caressing me with its fingers. My skin tingled, and without opening my eyes, I spread my legs wide to let the warmth flow into me.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Better Bathroom Selfies

This is an extension of a previous idea I've had. People criticize "bathroom selfies" - even more than they do selfies in general. Obviously, I'm pro-selfie. And even more, pro-bathroom selfie. Especially those exciting bathroom selfies that show some skin. Fuck modesty. If you've got it, flaunt it, and show it to the rest of the world! The only bad thing about bathroom selfies is the poor quality of so many of them. But the solution to that isn't less bathroom selfies, it's more education! In my mind, the only just punishment for teens caught sexting is a crash course in basic photography skills. Toward that end, I have half a mind to print out friendly tip cards and leave them propped up against mirrors in public restrooms across the area. They might look like this:

5 Steps to Better Bathroom Selfies:
1. Wipe the mirror clean.
2. Disable your camera's flash.
3. Show some skin! (Optional)
4. Hold the camera steady.
5. Skip the duck lips - just smile!

The skin thing is optional just because I don't want people to feel pressured, like they're being evaluated. I want them to feel comfortable about taking bathroom selfies, and then, once they get into the mood, they'll be more likely to want to have fun with it. I also took out the detailed modeling tips, because again, I don't want people to think this is something that only super-attractive professional models do. Once a person is in the mindset of improving their bathroom selfie game, chances are, they'll figure out their own best angles.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Some Kind of Monster

You know - against a clean, uniform backdrop - this might actually pass for art!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Learning Opportunity

So, there's a story in the news about a Playboy model who is being accused of body shaming, after posting a critical photo on her Snapchat of a woman she encountered in a gym locker room shower. I'm not interested in defending this woman's actions, but I do think it bears mentioning that people are quick to jump to conclusions, and I can see how this whole situation could be the result of a massive misunderstanding, if the woman in question did truly intend the image to be an in-joke with her friend, and not posted publicly. (The fact that people are so quick to jump down another person's throat only supports the dim view of humanity that these people are ironically criticizing this woman for exhibiting - does nobody else notice the irony of this situation?). Also, the gym in question has publicly labelled this woman's actions as "appalling" - which, frankly, I think is a bit of an exaggeration (though I'm prone to hyperbole myself, so maybe I should be more forgiving). Was it insensitive and ill-advised? Yes. But "appalling"? I don't know that I'd even go so far as to say that this behavior warrants banishment, much less criminal charges. But, of course, companies these days have to kowtow to every little criticism, lest they sacrifice their public image and risk losing business.

Anyway, I have a couple of comments about this news story - involving both this woman's actions, and the response it has received from the public. Now, if this woman truly did intend to body shame this other woman she encountered in the locker room shower - and especially publicly, on the internet - as people are assuming (because you have to be honest, that's what it looks like), then that is behavior that deserves criticism. At the same time, I would caution people not to react so strongly as to warrant the justification of censorship. This woman experienced a genuine feeling - and while it was not the most positive feeling, and she chose to express it in an insensitive way, I don't want people to become scared of expressing their genuine feelings. If PC culture gets to the point where people believe they are not allowed to even think that other people's bodies are unappealing, then it has gone too far, because we no longer have freedom or control over our own thoughts. What we need to do is place the emphasis on how we express our thoughts and feelings - and how that affects others. So that instead of submitting to the knee-jerk impulse to express one's self at the expense of others, we will see the value in stopping to think about why we feel the way we do, what that means to us, and how we can express it in a way that ultimately contributes to making the world a better place (which is what I do - or at least try to do - when I sit down and analyze my thoughts in preparation for posting them to this blog).

Now, about the legality of taking photos in locker rooms. Firstly, let me say that what this woman did is exactly the sort of thing that gives voyeurism a bad name - using it as a weapon to criticize and embarrass other people, instead of the harmless (and pleasure-inducing!) goal of sexual gratification. In truth, there is a subset of the population that also believes there is something intrinsically harmful (or "degrading", if you want to use a word that stands for illusionary harm) about being the unknowing subject of "naughty" behaviors conducted in secret behind closed doors - but this fear is nothing more than bogus superstition. There's no harm in somebody being attracted to you, and if they take a surreptitious picture of you (that maybe you didn't even notice!) to remember that by, and to maybe use as a masturbatory aid later on, or even to share with other people who will use it in the same way, who cares? It hurts no one - the only thing it serves is to make other people feel good. Keep in mind that none of this justifies true violations of privacy, or stalking, or any antisocial behaviors. But unobtrusive (and especially public) voyeurism that does not involve harassment or abuse of any kind (including verbal) is an unqualified benefit to society.

Still, people are afraid of having their privacy violated (even in public). They get nasty when strangers take their pictures, because they assume they're going to post them to their Facebook with critical captions, and be made a public laughing stock. In short, people expect other people to be insensitive jerks. Which is realistic. But wouldn't it be nice if we lived, instead, in a world where people had the expectation that other people wouldn't be insensitive jerks? Which is pretty much the way people are reacting to this story. They're calling this woman out on her insensitive behavior. Why, then, do we focus on the inherent wrongness of taking the picture? Of all people, even nudists (which is where I first heard about this story) use this story as an example to justify the expectation of privacy. Which is ironic, because nudists freely and regularly shower in front of each other without fanfare. Isn't it entirely against nudist principles to emphasize the importance of privacy regarding something they don't consider private (that is, people's bodies) over the importance of just not judging people on their looks? Why do nudists still think this kind of privacy is important, then?

Unless they, too, are only shielding themselves from the jerks out there who want nothing more than to criticize their bodies. But isn't this the perfect opportunity to put our money where our mouths are, and invite the entire world to peer into our secret nudist communes, to see once and for all what nudism is really like? Instead of suspiciously insisting that it's not about sex, and then hiding behind tall fences? Wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the world the importance of treating people with dignity and respect, regardless of what they're wearing, or what their body looks like? To me, this seems like an ideal teaching opportunity for nudists, and the best way to expand knowledge and awareness of our lifestyle to the masses. And we're wasting it, because we're all too lazy and scared of being judged. We keep to ourselves in our little secret societies, hiding behind our fences sipping beers in front of our trailers, shunning cameras because god forbid somebody from the outside world should see us naked. And we call ourselves nudists? Well, let me tell you, that's not the nudism I want to be a part of. The only question I have is, who's going to join me?

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Third Field

If you've ever taken a survey, or filled out your detailed information on some kind of form, you've been presented with one or both of two particular fields. Although the labels change, generally they show up as "Sex:" and "Orientation:". But I would argue that these two fields are not adequate to describe the human population when one provides for the existence of transgender individuals - individuals for whom their gender does not match their sex.

The first problem is this ambiguous "sex" field. Is it referring to sex, or gender? Sometimes it's actually labelled gender. In reality, it's asking for both (tacitly assuming the two are one and the same). Although in some cases, depending on the purposes of whatever it is that's doing the asking, it may be referring to one or the other. But this is often not clear. And it does not provide a transgender person the opportunity to give two separate answers.

Most people are cis-gendered. They make up the majority. So we are talking about minority concerns here - but minorities deserve to be recognized. Especially when the recognition of a minority indicates a flaw in our basic understanding of something. In this case, sex and gender. They are not the same thing. The fact that they are the same for most people explains why it's taken us so long to realize the difference. But now, having noticed the difference, does it make sense to go on pretending they're the same? (That's not how we do it in science).

One solution that some people have tried is by adding a third option to the ambiguous "sex and/or gender" field. In addition to "male" and "female", there might be an "other" option. But if there's a meaningful point to be asking people their sex and/or gender in the first place, I don't think that answering "other" gives enough information for statistical analysis. If it matters enough that you're either male or female, then it should be important whether your sex is male and gender is female, or whether your sex is female and gender is male. Especially if the survey/form is relying more on one of these than the other, but has done a poor job of indicating that (and we must be forgiving, because in this confused culture, one cannot be sure that when somebody uses the term "sex" or "gender", they are really being as precise as one could hope).

So a better solution would be to add a third field, in between the ambiguous "sex and/or gender" field, and the orientation field (which we'll get to shortly). It's simple - all you have to do is split sex and gender into two separate fields. Granted, for most people, who are cis-gendered, their answers to these two questions will be the same. But doing this not only clarifies the concept and the language, but it acknowledges the existence of transgender people.

No doubt, the conservative majority will groan, and whine about adding what is sure to be a "redundant" and superfluous box to their forms. I can hear it now. "Why d'I got ta answer this damn question twice?!" We can do one of two things. Cave in to their lazy, regressive demands, or simply plow forward in the interest of tolerance and diversity. That having been said, I'm not opposed to streamlining the process. For example, provide a "Sex:" field with the options, "male", "female", and "other" - so that when someone selects "other", another field will pop up (increasingly relevant in this digital age) allowing them to indicate their gender independently from their sex. Problem solved!

Now, to be fully inclusive - and isn't that a worthwhile goal? - we would need options for people who are intersexed, androgynous, bigender, nonbinary, and any number of other combinations. The best, and perhaps only, way to adequately prepare for these possibilities is to simply make these things text fields, instead of radio buttons. This may be less precise for statistical purposes, but for anyone interested in inclusivity, at the very least, you could provide these options in addition to the more standard fare, in order to give a person the ability to identify themselves, whether as an alternative or an addition to the more standard determinations.

Now, we've covered the third field. But since we're talking about modifying the "Sex:" and "Orientation:" fields for improved inclusivity, we should take a moment to explore the limitations of that "Orientation:" field, because it is no less problematic than the ambiguous "sex and/or gender" field was. I imagine there was a time when this field wasn't even needed, because it was assumed that everybody was straight. Things are different today. But even giving people the choice between "gay" and "straight" isn't perfect - and not because it marginalizes people who are bisexual (which it does). It's because the terminology itself is fundamentally flawed, if we want to allow for the previously identified distinction between sex and gender.

As I've discussed before, the problem with the terms "gay" and "straight" is that they do not focus on the target of a person's sexual attraction, but rather a relationship between the sex and/or genders (again, we're being ambiguous) of the subject and the object of the attraction. Logically, this seems counter-intuitive (at least to me - shouldn't your sexual orientation tell who you're attracted to, not make some ambiguous statement about sex and/or gender?), but it makes sense that our understanding has developed this way.

To start with, the default state of men being attracted to women and vice versa can more easily be summed up with the single term "heterosexual" (especially because if you add another field to identify a person's "sex and/or gender", then you'll know everything you need to know in this limited framework), rather than adding another option, and splitting it into "male-attracted" and "female-attracted".

Then, the main alternative to this heteronormative standard that we've been introduced to as a society is homosexuality. It's only natural that, as a result, we've focused on characterizing people's sexual orientations based on the relationship between sexes and/or genders. I would argue, however, that we're moving into a post-LGB world, where it's beginning to make more sense to define a person's orientation in terms of who they're attracted to, instead of this archaic emphasis on the relationship between sexes and/or genders.

This becomes ever more obvious when we account for the difference between sex and gender, and provide for the existence of transgender individuals. I've written at length before about how the terms "gay" and "straight" are inadequate for describing a transgendered person's sexual orientation, precisely because of this irritating ambiguity between sex and gender. How do you identify the relationship between two people's sexes and/or genders when that relationship is going to be different depending on whether you use sex or gender, and when it is not clear (or changes in different situations) whether it is sex or gender that is to be used?

It's a quagmire. But there's a simple solution - provided we're willing to shift our perspective in a significant way. But it's logical. We just need to stop thinking in terms of "gay and straight", and turn the focus away from the subject, to the object of a person's attraction. Who are you attracted to? That alone should determine your sexual orientation, regardless of who it is you happen to be.

Now, I can foresee this paradigm shift potentially tearing apart the community bonds that the various queer cultures have constructed for community and solidarity against conventional society. I'm not interested in destroying those foundations. I have no problem with people continuing to identify as "gay" or "lesbian" or anything else. And it's still the case that in terms of dating prospects, gay people and straight people are going to want to stick to their own sides of the bar, simply because that's how they're going to find the people that are going to be willing to date them.

But, again, if we want to be inclusive not just of LGB people, but T people as well, we need to at least construct some labels for sexual orientations that do not have such a strong reliance on the synergy between a person's sex and gender. It could be as simple as adding the options "male-oriented", and "female-oriented" - which, in addition to the provided sex and/or gender field(s), could tell a researcher all he needs to know (and more) about whether a person is "gay" or "straight".

It gets a little bit more complicated when we start to consider just all the sorts and combinations of people and things that a person can be attracted to (starting with asking the thorny question of whether people can be attracted to genders and not just sexes). Ideally, there'd be options for people who are pansexual, omnisexual, asexual, and any number of other colorful varieties of sexuality. Again, as with the sex and gender fields, it would be best to use a text field instead of the typical radio buttons.

I know that it probably sounds like I'm trying to make things a lot more complicated than they already are - but the truth is that life is complicated, and people are complicated. And while these changes do not have to be made, they are essential for anyone interested in being more tolerant and inclusive of minorities. The good news is that I've been working on a neat and compact way for people to identify themselves to others visually, that is very open-ended, yet need not be any more complicated than a person desires. I call it "SGO Notation", and I plan to write up a post about it very soon.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Prime D

(As in "prime directive" :p).

All this stigma surrounding sex and physical attraction, and I can't help thinking that this - this right here - is the reason each and every one of us even exists in the first place. Talk about being ungrateful... #respectyourroots

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Top Heavy

Carries a bit of a different meaning for a man than it does for a woman.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Classical Nudism

I realized something the other weekend. I've been trying to rationalize my beliefs on beauty with a pro-body acceptance stance lately. Because I believe that both have value. I want to believe the two are mutually compatible. But there's a nagging doubt at the back of my mind. And if I had to choose one over the other, I think I'd rather celebrate beauty over body acceptance. Because even though that might mean a lot of people feeling miserable about their bodies, the alternative would be the loss of beauty to the world.

Normally, I tend to eschew things that involve competition. I guess that's why I like the body acceptance approach - beautiful people can go on being beautiful, while the rest of us don't necessarily have to feel inferior standing in their shadow (provided this is more than a comforting delusion - am I trying to have my cake and eat it too?). If anything, it goes to show how much of an impact beauty has on me.

It's not because I'm purely superficial, and lack depth. On the contrary, I identify with the phrase "still waters run deep". But I cannot lie to you and say that beauty doesn't have a profound effect on me. Enough so, that I'm willing to dedicate my life to its pursuit. I can't help that it makes me feel this way, I just want to feel it more. (And if I sound like an addict, well, I believe that people should have the freedom to pursue their own happiness, even if it turns out to be to their own detriment - or, hell, even the ultimate ruination of their mortal soul).

What does this have to do with nudism? Well, I note a drastic difference between nudism as I experience it today, and nudism as I have seen it described in past eras. Let me ask you, when did nudism become sagging, pot-bellied grey hairs ferrying six packs on golf carts through trailer parks? What happened to the emphasis on "health and efficiency" - clean living, fitness, and beauty pageants? The ancient Greeks used to carve statues of naked bodies because they believed they were symbols of divinity!

Granted, I wasn't around in ancient Greece, nor even the days when the FKK lifestyle was gaining ground in Europe. If I'm constructing a rose-tinted fantasy of what nudism used to be (or "gymnosophy" - that's a nice, classical-sounding name), then feel free to do as the pagans have done and call it neo-classical, rather than just classical, nudism. The point isn't how things actually were, but how we want them to be.

And I'm worried that maybe all this emphasis on "body acceptance" is undermining the importance of beauty. It wouldn't be so bad if more beautiful people felt comfortable joining in the lifestyle - but the fact that they don't is crippling. It's great if "body acceptance" attracts normal people to the lifestyle. But if the "cure" for our society's unhealthy body image problem isn't making the conventionally attractive more comfortable baring all, then what's the point? And is this really a cure, if all it does is make unattractive people comfortable in their skin, while the attractive still feel like meat on parade? If beautiful people are still going to be ogled (and let's be honest, this is never going to change), shouldn't we at least give them the acknowledgement they deserve?

I don't know, maybe this is all just a crazy idea. But I'm brainstorming here. Even if it inspires a toxic atmosphere of envy and self-criticism, there has to be some draw in the desire to be seen as beautiful, otherwise, where is the fashion industry getting all of these models from? To be designated beautiful is a mark of pride and accomplishment (for those of us who work for it). But for there to be winners, there have to be losers. All these people who cry about losing - they don't generally complain that there are losers, they're just disappointed because they didn't want to be one of them. Without losers, there'd be no value in winning.

On the other hand, if everybody could have trim bodies and washboard abs, maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing. But whether by pure chance or some universal law of averages, that's just not the case. Still, is the fact that not everybody is equally beautiful reason enough to discard the concept of beauty, so that everyone can feel good about themselves? That seems to me like taking PC culture a step too far. Think about it. Should we be telling 'D' students that they are smart, too? Should we be handing out identical trophies to every sports team on the league, regardless of win-loss records?

I don't know about you, but I'm capable of playing competitive sports without being a sore loser, because I understand that the most important thing is having a good time, and just having an opportunity to play is fun for me. That doesn't mean that it's not extra exciting to win. It's just that - like my argument for beauty - there's more to the game than whether you win or lose. Sometimes winning or losing isn't even the most important thing (depending on your perspective). That not everybody can win doesn't mean that nobody should win - so long as everybody who wants to, has a chance to play.

Nudism as I know it is about being nude, not seeing nude. So basically, what I'm proposing here is a fundamental overhaul of the lifestyle. Which is to say that it's pretty much doomed from the start. I don't really want to destroy modern nudism, and turn it into a looking gallery. I just think I would enjoy it a whole lot more if we re-integrated some of that visual culture. That's the lifestyle I want to be a part of. And the single most radical thing that could be done to shake things up is re-introduce cameras into the nudist environment. People would certainly start thinking more about how they look then.

I know, I'm a maverick. Would that really be so terrible, though? America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Is there a point at which tolerance enables self-destructive behavior? I feel like we live under a very black-or-white mindset. You're either anorexic or overweight. Can there be no middle ground? Can we not acknowledge that looking after your body is generally a good thing? That fitness is healthy and beauty is desirable, without making people feel like killing themselves because they're not perfect? I call myself a radical, but this sure sounds like a moderate stance to me...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Suspicious Request

Did you know that snuff films are a booming underground industry? But don't go looking for them, because you'll only increase the market demand; and besides, you could be punished severely just for watching one - worse, in some cases, than if you had made one yourself. You'll just have to take our word for it, and be thankful that neither you, nor anyone you know, has ever seen one. We've got trained counselors on hand tending to our agents investigating this matter. By the way, our department needs more money and resources to crack down on this barbaric practice. Will you throw us a bone, or would you rather help these disgusting predators escape justice? The choice is yours.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Beauty vs. Body Acceptance

A question wandered into my thoughts the other night as I was heading to bed, and it got me to thinking. Is body acceptance compatible with taking pride in one's appearance? Obviously, taking pride in your body no matter what it looks like is a form of acceptance. But what if you're interested in fitness, and watching your weight, and things like that - not purely for the health benefits, but because you think it makes your body look more attractive?

I don't hide the fact that I put a lot of value in looks. I'm a very visual person - especially in the way that I express my sexuality. And I think that certain body types are more attractive than others. But I'm down with the principles of body acceptance. I just wonder if there's a contradiction there. Can I really support body acceptance if I'm simultaneously signing off on the idea that some bodies look better than others?

From the start, my guiding principle has been the assumption that the human phenomenon of beauty has an intrinsic and uniquely important value. And the sometimes ugly truth about beauty is that some things are not as beautiful as others. But if beauty is important, I also really like the principles behind body acceptance. I've tried to explain my stance before - and hopefully I've done a good job. On the one hand, I believe that beauty is worthwhile. But it is not the only thing in life that matters. So while it is generally a good thing to pursue beauty, the fact is that not everybody is going to be beautiful (in any one particular, narrowly defined way). There are other qualities to pursue - e.g., athleticism (which sometimes but not always correlates with beauty), intelligence, kindness - that all have intrinsic value of their own.

I just think it's ironic because I'm extremely comfortable in my own skin. I wasn't always that way, but I certainly am now. I'm a nudist. I have no qualms about being seen naked. And while I've worked (and continue to work) to improve my physique - because doing so makes me feel better, looking at myself in the mirror (and even more so as a model) - I would be no less shy getting naked in a crowd if I were considerably less attractive. (Case in point, a couple years ago I weighed 40 more pounds than I do now. I didn't like the way I looked in the mirror so much. But it didn't stop me from practicing nudism, or wearing what I wanted to wear, or continuing to take pictures of myself, even if I was less inspired).

So that's my stance. Beauty is good, but it's not the only thing that's good. If you can have it - fantastic. It's worth pursuing. But if you can't, or if you're just not that interested in it (because you don't have to be), then that's fine, too. There are other ways to be a valuable, interesting, worthwhile human being. So, in my mind, it's not incompatible for me to pursue beauty and praise those who are beautiful, while supporting the platform of body acceptance. Maybe not everyone will see it that way, but that's the way I see it. People who praise beauty are not the ones contributing to body image disorders - it's the people who shame and criticize those they consider not beautiful (especially when they actually are), and imply that being beautiful is the only thing that matters in life, that do so.

Am I justified in these beliefs, or am I just deluding myself?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Try This On For Size (Bikini Edition!)

Let's just get those out of the way right from the start this time. :p

I thought this looked like an interesting top, but I quickly discovered in the fitting room that it was designed for a much bustier woman. I picked two different bottoms to pair it with, as it looked like it could go well with either. I thought the stripes would contrast more with the stars on the top, giving the ensemble more of a fuller flag effect (and it doesn't look bad!), but ultimately I liked it better paired with the matching bottoms with the stars (no pic, sorry). In any case, it was a no-go, thanks to the top.

I fell in love with this bikini the instant I spied it on the racks at Target. I ended up trying it on twice (in different sizes), and shelling out thirty bucks for it (by comparison, Old Navy was selling its swim separates for eight dollars a piece on sale). But it looks so great! I've tried on so many bikinis that all pretty much look the same (and a lot with cheesy patterns), but this one stands out. It's a beautiful dark shade of teal, with a black mesh layer over top, giving it a bit of a shimmering effect. Then you have these solid black lines going across to give it some substance and style. The top is rather tight - there's no hook or clasp, so you actually have to slip it on and off over your head. I had to compromise between the tight band going across my ribs, and the size of the breast cups, which tend to correlate. If I had gone any bigger, it would have been even more obvious that I have nothing to fill those cups with.

The bottoms don't have much room, either - which is sexy (less is more when it comes to bikinis), but not very forgiving of my package (which is why I doubt I could wear this anywhere but to a fetish ball, and I don't know of any of those in my area). Still, altogether I think it looks fantastic, and even just wearing it in front of the mirror fills me with the joyful fantasy of being a girl and being able to totally slay at the pool feeling confident in a killer bikini. They say money can't buy happiness, but it can temporarily fund the illusion of happiness!